Tools & Resources Smart Operations

Smart Operations

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This tool suggests appropriate roles for 11 of the most common areas of microfinance operations. FIs can use this tool to assign client protection responsibilities to each operational department and to understand how responsibilities are shared among operational departments.

Financial institutions (FIs) must involve employees from every operational area in the effort to achieve adequate client protection. Rather than designating client protection as a “special project” to select employees, FIs should ensure that each department has specific client protection responsibilities. This tool suggests appropriate roles for 11 of the most common areas of microfinance operations. FIs can use this tool to assign client protection responsibilities to each operational department and to understand how responsibilities are shared among operational departments. Specifically, an institution can use the tool to:

  • Evaluate and make changes to a single department. For example, the institution might identify Human Resources as a priority department, and use the tool to improve the client protection practices of that department. The institution can return to the tool each time it is ready to evaluate and improve a new operational area.
  • Evaluate the entire institution. A single person, such as the Executive Director, or a team, such as the Board of Directors, may use the tool to evaluate how each department functions in relation to the guidelines presented in the tool, and to create a strategy for making institutional changes. The tool can be useful in setting such a strategy, including:
  1. Identifying priority operational areas for improvement.
  2. Identifying priority Client Protection Principles for improvement.
  • Understand how different operational areas share client protection responsibilities. Institutions can use the cross references to understand how changes to a policy or practice in one operational area both rely on and support changes in another operational area. For example, an institution might learn how improvements to Product Research and Development are dependent on, and essential to, improvements in Product Management. This understanding will facilitate the process of improving client protection practices across the institution.

The 11 operational areas discussed in this tool include:

  1. em3Executive Management
  2. pr3Product Research and Development
  3. pm3Product Management
  4. hr3Human Resources
  5. mp3Marketing and Promotions
  6. sf3Sales Force and Frontline Employees
  7. fn3Finance
  8. rm3Risk Management
  9. lg3Legal
  10. it3Information Technology and Communications (ICT)
  11. cc3Complaints/Customer Service

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NOTE: These operational areas vary by institution, so institutions should apply this tool to their own personal organizational structure by matching the recommendations to the department or employee that most closely resemble the categories above.

Smart Operations Tool (English) by Smart Campaign